Friday Fives: The Death Star

So since I haven’t resolved my Scene Its issue yet (there’s a bunch of complication with this, least of all that he wants me to now run the website but I’m not sure I have the time for it. On top of that, I’d have to add in TFA and Star Wars standalone movies and I’m not sure where I’d get those scenes or if I want to be responsible for it), I’m testing out my Friday Fives.

The 5 Coolest Things About the Death Star

  1. The most obvious point…the Death Star is round. Like, what?  That was the coolest thing ever the first time Ideath star saw it.  When I think of space stations, even today, I think of flat surfaces that are floating in space…mainly because that’s what we know from Earth.  I basically think of it as taking a building and lifting it up into space, except cooler of course because it would have rounded corners and made completely out of metal or something.  But the Death Star was completely round.  How did it manage to stay “afloat” without tipping to the side?
  2. It has the magnitude to destroy an entire planet. Oh my goodness.  I do not want that thing floating near Earth.  The fact that it was even referred to as a “small moon” means that you could have seen it from Alderaan, in fact probably did.  Can you imagine the chills that would have gone down your body seeing that space station slowly float into view?  Oooo…I just thought of a really cool EU/Legends story.  Someone sees the space station from Alderaan and escapes in a nick of time.  Actually that’s not much of a story, but it would be an interesting scene within the story.  The sense of foreboding you get when you see it in view, Bail Organa gives you a secret message to carry to Leia knowing he will never see her again, you narrowly escape the planet in your ship only to feel the rock of the explosion behind you.  Maybe your ship even gets somewhat damaged and you have to find a way to the closest planet on leaking fuel.    I’m getting distracted.  Anyway, I wouldn’t necessarily describe this fact as “cool”, but at the same time, it kind of is from a storytelling perspective.  I’ve been researching online if any other space station in fiction did that prior to Star Wars, and I haven’t found anything.  Neither have I found anything of space stations doing that after the Death Star.  It’s definitely left its mark (PUN kind of).
  3. It’s controlled by buttons. I just noticed this when I was watching ANH this past weekend.  It’s so old school, death star buttonsbut I love it.  Obviously, this movie was made in the late 70s and everything then was buttons.  Nowadays, we are so used to everything being a touch screen that buttons seem antiquated.  I always took the Death Star and its operations for granted, but rewatching it this weekend made me really think how it looked a little dated.  But at the same time, would you want something that large controlled by a touch screen?  You’ve all been there when your phone doesn’t respond to your touch.  What if that happened on the Death Star?  You’d probably blow yourself up.  I’ll be interested to see if TFA involves buttons or touch screens.
  4. It can be operational when not complete. I don’t know many machines that can operate even when it’s not complete.  For instance, a car’s engine can be working just fine, but without the wheels attached to a car, attached to a body, which is attached to the engine…it’s not going to go very far.  A laptop’s CPU and RAM can be in perfect working order, but without the keyboard and mouse, it would be pretty useless.  But the Death Star II is completely capable of blasting apart ships while it sits by looking harmless.  Genius, Palpatine, genius.
  5. And further on that topic, the second Death Star brought up some really interesting points. What happened to the innocent contractors brought in to work on it?  And, for Death Star II to be completed that quickly, they would have had to begun working on it way before ROTJ.  Yes, you know where this is going (and if you don’t, prepare to be enlightened).  This is one of the coolest scenes, in my opinion, to come from the Death Star existing:

Ever wonder if a Death Star could actually destroy a planet IRL?  Read this.

So, as a first Friday Fives, how did I do?  I do, truly, miss my Scene It on Friday’s, but I think there’s a time when you need to stop mourning something and turn the page.  Today is the first day of spring, so maybe this is a good time to leave Scene It’s in the winter and move forward with the life of something else.

By the way – STAR WARS CELEBRATION IS NOW LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY AHHH.

Star Wars Rebels – Season One Review

I was really hoping to have a report on how the virgin Star Wars viewing went last week…but turns out my friend’s husband decided to get appendicitis that day so they were in the hospital and had to reschedule.  Really?  Lame excuse.

So instead I’m here to talk about the first season of Star Wars Rebels, my thoughts, what I liked and disliked.

*Thar be spoilers ahead!*

You can read my initial reactions on the first episode here.

Overall, I really liked Rebels, and I definitely liked it a lot more than I liked The Clone Wars when I first started watching it.  You guys have heard me mention many times that I actually was furious at TCW when they began the show (Anakin has a padawan?  What??  What are all these random storylines thrown in??).  I didn’t want there to be the recurring, older characters.  I wanted a fresh start.  Though I grew to love and enjoy TCW, we definitely had a rocky start to our relationship.

This was not the case with Rebels.  I loved these characters that were not in the movies and I loved the settings.  It was Hera and chopperdifferent from TCW in that the animation was softer, not as angular or harsh.  For the most part, I liked the animation style.  I thought the ships were done excellently, though I believe the people didn’t flow as well as I would have liked.  Most of the time they were good, but sometimes they seemed a little jerky.

The throwbacks in Rebels were also fun to watch.  I loved that they pulled from Ralph McQuarrie, especially for Lothal, and his touch was a constant, even with Zeb and Chopper.  The lightsaber fight in the last episode screamed of TPM (it was nice to see a Prequel nod) and characters like Lando were thrown in to remind us of the OT.

The storyline was also pretty good.  Out of the entire season, there was only one episode I really disliked and that was “Droids in Distress”.  Clearly it was an episode just to throw a bone to the fans who wanted to see characters they knew (Artoo and Threepio).  I didn’t like “Path of the Jedi” (I’m not a fan of Yoda speaking to people when he’s off on some far off swampy planet) or “Idiot’s Array” that much either, but I thought they had nuggets of character development that I appreciated.

My favorite episodes were:

  • “Breaking Ranks” – Ezra joins the Empire temporarily and befriends Zare Leonis, who later becomes a spy for thestar wars rebels zare leonis band of Rebels. I still think Zare is also Finn, but maybe I should drop that point for now.
  • “Empire Day” – I loved the political undercurrents in this, as well as finding out a lot about Ezra’s family. It gave us some insight into who he is and why he is so against the Empire.  It kind of put a purpose to his mischief, as opposed to someone who just caused trouble for the hell of it.
  • “Call to Action” through “Fire Across the Galaxy” – I understand why they can’t do episode arcs that much in the beginning of the season. First, they need to find out if they are going to get renewed.  No point in investing in characters and storylines if it gets canceled.  Second, you need to pull the viewer in and the easiest way to do that is with one-and-done episodes.  Everything is somewhat resolved by the end of the episode, but there are hints to a larger storyline.  But this episode arc was really great.  The Empire (including a steady appearance of Grand Moff Tarkin – whom I actually didn’t mind showing up at all) is getting uneasy with all the Rebels and Tarkin is upset that Agent Kallus and the Inquisitor have not been able to capture them yet.  By the end of the first episode, Kanan is captured, and the next two episodes show how the crew of Ghost come together to rescue him.  What I liked is not that it was a simple, “Yes, let’s go get him!” but there were doubts, especially from Hera.  She had to decide between the mission and Kanan.  It took some convincing from the rest of the crew (and disobeying her orders), including Chopper, to finally make her see that Kanan was worth going after.  At the end of the final episode in Season One, we get to find out who “Fulcrum” is … and it’s Ahoska!  I did a little squeal, I admit it.  AHSOKA HAS RETURNED!
ahsoka star wars rebels

Ashley Eckstein’s voice too!

 

So now that Ahsoka is back in the storyline and canon, I guess it brings up a lot of interesting questions.  Does she know Vader is Anakin, her former Jedi Master?  Does she know Yoda and Obi-Wan are alive?  Or is she acting on her own in this rebellion?  She has connections to Bail Organa, and Organa knows that Yoda and Obi-Wan are alive.  Do you think Ahsoka just assumes Anakin died in the Jedi Purge?

inquisitorMy favorite character was the Inquisitor and I loved him so much.  I thought he was actually kind of brilliant, though he actually created more questions for me than anything else.  Maybe I just liked Jason Isaacs voice (ahhh so hot).  But I understood why he had to die.  Grand Moff Tarkin made it quite clear that he would not suffer failure…so if Kanan got away (which he did), the Inquisitor would not have been a welcome guest at Vader and the Emperor’s dinner party.  But now they bring in Vader…this could be interesting.  If they keep Vader in Season 2 as a steady character, I hope they stay true to his character.  Don’t take away from his scariness, add to it.  Don’t be afraid of making him as ruthless as he seems to be in ANH.  Don’t show any sympathetic gestures from him.

I think Rebels has potential.  I’m interested to see if there are any tie-ins to The Force Awakens and to see how they link this back to ANH.  Already they have Tarkin playing a somewhat major role and Vader seems to be stepping into the picture as well.  I want to see more interesting episode arcs and less silly standalone episodes.  Perhaps I’m asking for too much, too soon, but I think they’ve been doing a good job, but I want to see it become great, like TCW did.

What were your thoughts on Season One of Rebels?  Did you like it?  Dislike it?  Will you watch Season two?

For some great reading on what Dave Filoni says about Season One, check out this article.

Let’s Take a Look at Star Wars Rebels

SPOILERS AHEAD

 

Rebels has kicked off and…overall, I liked it.  Last week we had the one-hour premiere with a movie on the Disney Channel.  This week the season officially got underway with its first episode on Monday night.

I loved the movie.  I thought it was exactly what Star Wars should be and how they should approach the series.  They stayed away from any characters we knew and the only glimpse we got of a familiar character was a hologram recording of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The recording was the one he released in ROTS, warning all Jedi to stay away from the temple and that the Jedi are no longer safe.

Other than that – we were introduced to a completely new band of characters.  We have Hera the Twi’lek pilot who commands their ship Ghost, Kanan the undercover Jedi, Zeb is the Lasat who is really the tough guy of the operation (and his species is based on original concept drawings of Chewbacca!), Sabine the Mandolorian who is kind of a pyro and graffiti artist, and finally we have a newcomer named Ezra.  A kid of the streets who gets pulled into this little clan and decides to stay to do some Jedi training with Kanan.  Oh, and we can’t forget Chopper: the little astromech droid who helps run the ship.  They did a great job on making him seem pretty different from Artoo, a fear I had.

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The opposition to this team on a larger scale is, obviously, the Empire.  Specifically, at this point we know of two beings: Agent Kallus, an official of the Imperial Security Bureau and The Inquisitor, a Pau’an male who hunts down remaining Jedi.  We have not seen much of him yet – only saw him at the end of the movie when Kallus reported that he had found a Jedi (Kanan).

What I liked most about the movie is that we were introduced to new areas, new people, new ships and my imagination was opened to a part of Star Wars I didn’t know, but there was “something familiar about this place”.  Ralph McQuarrie’s touch was extremely obvious and some of the landscape shots were ripped right off of what he had done for the OT.  Not saying that’s bad, in fact, it gave us the OT feel.

I was most surprised at the time period of Rebels.  Apparently it takes place 5 years BBY.  I completely missed this somehow.  That means that Luke and Leia are 14 and the Jedi have been written off the galaxy for 14 years.  What made me question this time period is that the need to have an Inquisitor means that there are still quite a few Jedi throughout the galaxy.

I don’t like that.  Jedi shouldn’t be that prevalent still, right?  Han Solo was really skeptical of the Force and Luke barely knew anything about Jedi.  If Luke and Leia are 14 at this point, and Han would be older, wouldn’t it mean that the knowledge of Jedi would be a little more common?

Also, they are making this group of misfits look like the beginning of the Rebellion.  The Rebellion should have been pretty much established by this point in the game, even if they are not completely rebellious (pun intended ha!) yet.  The crew on Ghost are smart; I think they would have heard about the Rebellion through their travels across the galaxy and at this point either joined them or aided them in some way.

Which brings me to the first episode of the TV series.  After coming off of a successful premiere movie, I cringed and got angry when I saw C-3PO and R2-D2 appear in the first official episode.  UGH.  Really?? I know that other people have no problems with this but I do.  I was hoping that Rebels would stay away from that trap of bringing in familiar characters to satisfy all audiences.

Seeing Threepio and Artoo made the galaxy seem smaller than it actually is.  Do you really think they would run into these two droids?  Really?artoo threepio star wars rebels  It was completely fine in TCW, because they had every single PT character running around that why not bring in everyone we know?  In fact, I got used to that in TCW.  But Rebels clearly seems to be reminding us that this is a new band of characters on new planets and in new situations.  The cherry on the cake was when they drop off the droids at, of all ships, the Tantive IV with Bail Organa.  (bangs head against wall)  I was expecting a teenage Leia to just stroll in and talk with her father.  Thankfully that did not happen and I was spared, but if we are going to introduce Organa this early in the series, maybe I should just brace myself and expect it to happen at some point.

The only interesting thing about the situation was that Artoo had recorded some of the conversations on Ghost and had brought it back to Organa who noted that they should keep an eye on them.  I still think they could have used other droids and a different character for this, but maybe by the time the series ends it will tie back to bringing the crew of Ghost into the Rebellion.  And, by the way, shouldn’t the droids be pushed off onto Captain Antilles at some point?  They’ve really been with Organa for 14 years?

bail organa rebels

Other than my major grievance with the droids, Tantive IV, and Organa – I think the first episode was pretty cool.  They stuck it to the Empire by stealing their prized weapons that were supposed to be illegal throughout the galaxy, and then later destroying them.  It spoke to an interesting larger lesson: the Empire can do what they want, regardless if weapons are illegal or not.  In the hands of the Empire, those laws are conveniently forgotten if it will further their cause.

Ezra showed us some of his Force powers…he has more than I thought.  But they came into action when he was angry and scared.  Not very Jedi-like, eh?  So Kanan will have to curb that and teach him how to use the Force in a calmer state.  Or will Kanan change the rules a bit and not follow the strict Jedi Code?  Speaking of Kanan…I couldn’t really figure out how old he was.  I was guessing late 20s or early 30’s.  Oh – nevermind, Wookiepedia says he’s 28 and was 14 when Order 66 happened.

Lastly, I wanted to touch briefly upon the tone and style of the series.  I enjoyed the style and the banter between the characters, but my good friend Mr. Reticent pointed out that it was a lot lighter than TCW.  Not only with the situations and how they talked with each other, but also the animation style.  When you contrast the animation, there is a big difference.  TCW was more angular, sharp and it felt like watching a video game sometimes.  Rebels is smooth, almost more “cartoony”, which makes sense considering that it comes from Disney.  The tone of the episodes seemed to play more for a Disney crowd as well…I’m not sure if any of you guys watch The Disney Channel/Disney X D or Cartoon Network – but they are two very different styles and draw in two different crowds.  Both focus more on drawing in boys than girls, but CN is a lot cruder in my opinion.  I find CN to grate on me often and I watch the shows with disbelief that kids watch that channel as it can feel gritty.  Disney X D still seems unfathomable to me at times, but at least I can somewhat relate and understand why a boy would watch a show on the channel.  X D plays it a little safer and perhaps that’s why Rebels also seems to reflect that. (apparently I can’t write X.D. without WP changing it to a gigantic smiley face)

I find it hard to decide whether or not I will like the series based on what I’ve seen.  I loved the movie, giving it an 8.5/10, but felt the first TV show would come in at a 6/10.

 

Okay, I’m almost done, I swear.  Two side notes!

  1. Greg Weisman has left Rebels. I am most sad about this as he was the one person I was really pumped to have part of the show and thought would lead it in a smart, good direction.  But why did he leave?  I can’t find anything online so if anyone has information on this, please let me know to satiate my curiosity.
  2. Kiri Hart. I can’t go further without mentioning her.  You guys know how often I have talked about my unusual name and how I’ve never met anyone else with my name.  Well, guess what?  She is the VP of development at LFL and oversees a lot of the Star Wars content produced by Disney…including Rebels.  Look for her name at the end credits of Rebels.  SUPER WEIRD.  SUPER, SUPER WEIRD.  But I’m loving it.  I would not wish anyone else to have my name but someone at LFL.  It’s a sign.  I’m not sure of what, but it’s a sign.

Scene it on Friday – ROTS Scene #239

breha organa 2

Now here’s my question, and I’ve definitely touched on this point before, but HOW IN THE WORLD COULD LEIA REMEMBER HER REAL MOTHER??  Just reading this scene made me think about this all over again.  Leia was only alive, what, 20 seconds before Padmé died?  Okay, okay, sure, say she remembers her real mother through the Force, but even this is a stretch for my imagination.

Rant done.

As Episode III wraps up and this is one of the last scenes, I have think that this display of Alderaan was lame.  As a fan of Star Wars and of some of the EU, I always wanted to see a lot of Alderaan.  We were introduced to Bail Organa in Episode II and the connections were made immediately.  Here’s Leia’s adoptive father!  And knowing he would play a more pivotal role in ROTS, I was hoping we would see more of Alderaan.  I have this memory of reading a passage in one of the EU books (no idea which one) where Leia goes into depth about how beautiful the planet is and my yearning to see it has never been satisfied.  I feel like by seeing more of the planet and its beauty, fans would have had a newfound reaction to when it gets blown up by the Death Star. It looks beautiful from split second we see it, but I want to see more.  No chance on that with Episode VII, but maybe the spinoff movies will give me what I’m looking for.

The Queen of Alderaan’s name is Breha Organa, formerly Breha Antilles.  Damn, so many Antilles.  She became queen during 22 BBY.  She suffered 5 miscarriages and was told that she ran the risk of death if she made another attempt to conceive a child.  This drove Bail Organa to alcoholism when he would try to drink his sorrows away.

After adopting Leia, Bail and Breha also adopted Winter, the child of deceased Sheltay Retrac.  Though Leia and Winter were raised together, Winter was not considered royalty.  I always wondered about Winter’s past but never bothered to look it up.  Apparently, they also fostered a third child, Neena, but she was sent off to a musical school when they discovered her talent with instruments.  She was at the school when Alderaan blew up and was unable to get in touch with Leia.

What the heck is Wookiepedia planning to do with all this information when Episode VII comes out?

breha organa

EXTERIOR: ALDERAAN-LATE AFTERNOON

The QUEEN OF ALDERAAN sits on a balcony looking out over the awesome mountains of Alderaan. BAIL ORGANA brings a small baby to her. She takes her and rocks her.

EDIT: I forgot to share this AWESOME photo with you guys from the Star Wars Instagram account that went up today:

star wars instagram

Scene it on Friday – ROTS #154

Scene it on Friday – ROTS #154

Speak of the devil!  I just wrote about good ol’ Bail Organa in my last post and he shows up again.  Unfortunately, my random number generator has given me two very boring scenes the last two weeks in a row.

BUT as I was watching the movie, trying to find this scene…guess what?  Yup, it doesn’t exist.  Normally that makes me excited, but not this time.  Obviously the scene was cut because it took up a few seconds of time that just wasn’t needed.  The next scene is the Tantive IV taking off into space with Bail Organa onboard and that’s all we needed to see to infer what has happened.

However – it is a little interesting that Royal Guards stop him on his way to his ship.  What in the world are the Emperor’s Royal Guards doing in a landing platform?  Don’t they normally just stay by the Emperor?  I can’t even imagine the Imperial Guard doing something so menial as checking ID cards of senators who are boarding their ship.  Seems more of a Clone Trooper task to me.  Meh, perhaps Emperor Palpatine asked them to screen everyone leaving Coruscant, especially senators.  I’m not going to spend too much thought on this as it never made it into the movie.

Imperial guard

I hope everyone has a fabulous Memorial Day weekend and you take a moment to honor those who died serving our country.  Not just those in recent wars, but also those who fought in the Revolutionary War to free us from under Britain, in the Civil War to keep us as a unified country, WWI and WWI, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.

And I hope you have better weather than 50 degrees and raining which is what our forecast is shaping up to be.

Imperial guard star wars

EXTERIOR: CORUSCANT-SENATE OFFICE BUILDING-UNDERGROUND STARSHIP LANDING PLATFORM-DAY

BAIL ORGANA walks out of a tunnel onto a huge underground platform with two of his AIDES. He is stopped by TWO ROYAL GUARDS.

ROYAL GUARD: Identification…

BAIL ORGANA: Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan.

BAIL and his AIDES hand them their ID cards. The ROYAL GUARDS check them over and give them back, then BAIL and his CREW walk on board his Starship.